Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas 2012

This was definitely the best Christmas I've had since I was a kid.

Children provide all the entertainment a person could want at Christmas! And I have to say this may have been the first major holiday/event where having two was better than having one. The ratio of four adults to two children was perfect! Having two tiny ones playing with new toys, discovering new things, and needing attention while the adults were taking turns watching, helping, eating, prepping, and cleaning was just a great dynamic. The house seemed busy but not hectic. There was always a baby to watch, laugh with, assist, comfort but doing so didn't take me away from the other one's needs. It was quite a nice break for us, having the extra set of hands around to help and entertain.

Sam and Rachel were adorable Christmas morning. They weren't sure they were allowed to touch the presents and the ripping didn't seem remotely acceptable even though we encouraged it with a ridiculous amount of cheering, clapping and maniacal grinning. Most of our photos show cautious little faces and tentative little fingers gripping tiny pieces of wrapping paper, while the present itself is totally ignored. But there were a few gems in the mix.

Here is Rachel totally unsure of what she's looking at and if she's allowed to do what she's doing.

 Here is Sam, happy to finally have a present in his hands, although completely unsure of what to do with it.
 The best reaction of the day was when they got to finally touch their stockings, which had been hung up but untouchable for weeks. They had no idea anything was inside them of course. Most of the gift were put under the tree on Christmas eve so the temptation wouldn't be too much.
 Here they are opening a gift together. Sam had the courage to take off the lid but I just love Rachel's face, she looks so skeptical. I can picture a thought bubble, "yep, this is usually the point where we get into trouble."

There was definitely a good mix of gifts for the babes. Some of them were perfect for right now like the wool balls and the push oball and a little radio. Some of them they'll grow into in a few weeks or months time like the foam blocks and cars, the books and pjs. It was a good mix of practical and fun too. There were toys but there were also things that they actually need. 
I'm so grateful for all the family and friends we have in our lives and for our two little miracles. I get asked all the time if we're done having kids. I'm not sure if we are or not but I have to say that right now I feel very fulfilled with exactly what we have.
Thank God!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Santa today and yesterday

Last year, some day in December, with my Mom's help I dragged myself out of the house with my two teeny tiny babies to meet up with another twin Mom. I think it was only the first or second time we'd gotten together. Mom went off to do some shopping and Mira and I walked around the mall commisserating, sharing our stories. In our sleep deprived stupor, we came across the Santa pavilion and I immediately dismissed the idea.
That kind of thing was for functioning people.
There was no line up, it was the middle of a week day, weeks before Christmas. Mira suggested we stop. She'd already gotten photos of her little ones with a family friend playing Santa but what about mine? I looked at my little sleeping babes in their casual outfits and thought how impossible it seemed, how much effort it would take and the incredible risk of waking one of them and having to deal with a screaming infant, which would inevitably lead to two screaming infants. I just couldn't... we walked on.
And shortly after we walked back.
We were nearly out of time, our hour in between feeds almost up. How bad could it be? We were heading home soon anyway.
So I did it, I walked up and went through all the hassle of getting a tiny baby carefully out of the carseat straps and all the layers and carefully handing them to someone else trying not to wake them. And the I turned to my second teeny baby and carefully undid the straps and all the layers and gently lifted him out of the car seat. I could not take off their sweaters! That was asking too much from all of us.
I settled Rachel in Santa's arm, she woke just enough to wimper and peer at him through her eye lids. I took Sam and gently laid him in Santa's other arm, he squirmed and sleepily peered at Santa as well.
The photographer started snapping photos as I anxiously watched. I fixed Sam's hood. I prayed they wouldn't start crying. Santa did a few different poses. The babies fell back asleep in his arms.
I looked at all the shots and one of the last ones was by far the best. Two sleeping babes with a story book in between them in Santa's sleeping arms.
It's the most precious picture. I absolutely love it! And it's been in our living room since that day...it was a day I'll never forget and I learned a lot from it.
Lesson 1 of being a twin Mom: Almost everything you'll do is too much effort. The cost/benefit is completely out of wack and it rarely makes logical sense to leave the house. Do it anyway! You'll be glad you did.

************ 1 Year Later**************

Today we took the twins to see Santa. I now call them the Kids more often than I call them the Babes. In order to keep everyone distracted and entertained through the usual nap time, we left the house early. This brought us to the mall with about 45 minutes to kill before Santa started for the day. We walked around with Sam and Rachel in the stroller for a good 25 minutes. But eventually they got bored and were hungry and needed to get out. So we went to a seating area close to the Santa pavilion.
It was the first time they've been out in public on their own two feet. I took off their jackets and tried to smooth out their wrinkled outfits and I fed them cheese. They were totally thrilled with this new sense of independence in a totally new environment. It was very early so there were only a few people around. Quiet enough to just let them wander as they wished.
They toddled around, munching cheese. Sam venturing so far that he looked back with glee at how far away he was from Daddy and not even being followed. Of course he made his way back pretty quickly. He smiled away as he walked into a store and past a booth. People smiled at him and said hello and he'd shyly smile, head down and turn back to find us. Rachel walked off to look at people sitting in the other section, boldly waiting for them to acknowledge her, straight faced and adorable in her pretty dress. She did not want to be followed and did not look back to see if we were there. She happily went in circles and looked in stores, thrilled with how she could travel over the tiles and see these new sights.
It was the very best part of my day.
They were so small in those big halls and yet so sturdy and proudly independent too. Everyone who saw them, all dressed up ready for photos, smiled....totally charmed by these little people.
Of course when it came time for the photo they didn't want to sit still even in our arms. We did a few 'family photos' which Mommy and Daddy were not dressed for. And then we put them on Santa's knee and stepped away.
They were NOT impressed! In the 2 or 3 photos we got they looked mad or scared. I didn't have the heart to choose to print one of those. So we'll go with the awkward family photo.
It isn't a good picture but I hope it will remind me of watching them toddle around the mall, how proud I felt of how far we've all come.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Feelin' the Love

Oh it happened, it happened, it finally happened! Something I didn't even know I was waiting for....and when I saw it I realized again how much I care about their relationship with each other.

It goes without saying that my relationship with Sam and my relationship with Rachel are different and yet equally precious to me. But since there seem to be so many drawbacks to being twins and having twins, I also really really care about their relationship with each other.

I want them to have a relationship that fills any holes that might exist because I/we can't be there for them the way I/we could be for a singleton. This leads me to carefully watch their interactions and rejoice in any signs that point to a strong bond.

So yesterday, at the end of a long day, when Rachel cried at being put down and Sam who was standing next to her took one look and wrapped his little arms around her shoulders in a hug and put his head against hers, my heart positively melted and I nearly cried myself.

It was a split second of time... Rachel was in no mood to accept comfort from her brother and Sam was a little distressed that his hug didn't seem to solve the problem. So I ended up scooping them both up into my arms, trying to praise my sweet, tender-hearted boy and comfort my hurt little girl at the same time.

The moment was just that, a brief moment in time, but it meant the world to me. It was like a Christmas present that opened itself in front of me.

We're feelin' the love this Christmas.

Friday, December 14, 2012

We Got Rhythm

We set up our Christmas tree a couple Sundays ago. We had Christmas music playing and boxes of decorations out,the grandparents helping ensure Sam and Rachel didn't eat the glitter and garland and what-not. Luckily the kids were thrilled with the boxes and stuff but once it was on the tree they lost interest.
As we were finishing up and there was more space Sam was walking through the living room stomping one foot with every step. I think it was his first dance move. Prior to this he's only ever shaken his head to music, like our very own Ray Charles. But he couldn't walk/stomp and shake his head at the same time so he kind of took turns. It was adorable and so funny to watch.
Rachel on the other hand has had some dance moves for a while now and they're getting more pronounced. Our little girl shakes her booty. Mostly up and down rather than side to side so I'm not sure if she's a little more Elvis or a little more Beyonce.
No matter how they move, I love my little dancers.

Rachel has been in a huggy mood for quite a few weeks now, giving lots of hugs whenever requested and enjoying sitting on our laps. Sam's been more independent lately. But I've noticed both are gaining confidence in new places.
We were at a friend's place last weekend and there were lots of older kids (3 and 4) there. Rachel wanted to be with the big kids, either watching what they were doing or just being independent around them. One little boy seemed to take exception to her attention but luckily she didn't understand what he said. Her mother did though and it broke my heart to hear him say, 'Don't let the babies in.' Oh it's going to be horrible someday when they do understand.
This was the kind of environment that would have had Sam clinging to me in the past but he was completely content sitting on his Daddy's lap chattering away for an hour or so and then got confident enough to play with toys and wander a bit. When the big kids were having loads of fun in the bedroom shrieking and turning the light on and off he even slowly toddled over, peering in trying to see what the fuss was about. However, when he followed Rachel into the room and lights got turned off and the door closed, he only lasted a second before panicking. The door was opened immediately and Sam came staggering to me as fast as he could, very upset, followed by Rachel who looked a little overwhelmed herself. The panic passed quickly and they were happily playing in a few minutes.  I love my little ones and am so excited about this Christmas.

I've been struggling a bit lately. Ended up with strep throat a couple weeks ago, followed by some kind of back injury....the Dr said it was muscular but part of me (the anxious, hypochondriac part) still believes something integral has ruptured inside me and as soon as I'm done the strep antibiotics I'm going to perish from some kind of septicemia..... too much Grey's Anatomy for me! :)

Hopefully all will be well soon. My back is feeling better today and we've got a great weekend ahead... fingers crossed!